David Poole, who spent 13 years covering NASCAR for The Charlotte Observer, died Tuesday of a heart attack. He was 50.
David was a well know fixture at NASCAR events, his excessive girth made him easy to spot among the many journalists with track press credentials. I doubt he'd consider his double chin a trade mark but it was.
He was well liked and while I never met David Poole I enjoyed watching him speak to pretty much anyone who recognized him and took the time to say hello.
Few if any will disagree that his weight was a factor in his death at what most will consider a young age.
There will be nice eulogies, and poetic musings about what a great guy he was, well liked and respected by everyone and yet always opinionated, is a combination few journalist can lay claim.
I'm a closet NASCAR fan, I don't have a "3" on my car or a Dale Junior sticker on my pickup truck rear window. I haven't been to a race since .... well I don't remember. But if I'm flipping channels and pass by coverage of a race, I always go back.
I watch the last 45 mins of Daytona, and Charlotte, Lowes or Coca Cola 600 but miss most of the short tracks and all of the road course races.
I know only a few drivers, Richard Petty, Darrel Waltrip, Jeff Gordon, Ernie Ervin Dale and Dale Junior. Yeah I know most of them have retired. I'm old enough to know Benny Parsons was a driver but my memory is too faded to remember when.
I know Kyle Busch, beat out Carl Edwards by about 200 points last year, but for all I know they live next door. I know Dale, Jr had a less than hoped for start this year, and I hope never see Jeff Gordon win another race.
You could name a dozen or so of today's 20 top drivers and I'd not have a clue what sport they were involved with unless you added the name David Poole. David was my link to NASCAR, his column often interested me more than the sport itself.
Poole, who joined the Observer in 1990, covered Sunday's race at Talladega Superspeedway, which ended when Carl Edwards' car flew into a safety fence on the last lap and injured seven fans. His final column ran Tuesday morning.
He and his column will be greatly missed.